Marketing automation refers to any tool designed to take some kind of otherwise manual, time-intensive process in your marketing strategy and make it happen automatically.
While we may be several years away from seeing your marketing career jeopardized by AI and automation, we’re already living in an age where your marketing career can be defined by the technology you’re using (or neglecting).
Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of marketing automation, and using the best tools for the job can dramatically increase your results—and save you time in the process.
The value proposition of marketing automation is simple. It saves you (and your team) time. Assuming you have a list of 20 tasks to do in a day, and automation can take care of 5 of them, you’ll instantly save 25 percent of your time—which you can then devote to more high-value efforts, like brainstorming, analyzing, or making new connections.
Another perk of automation is giving you more data, which you can use to measure and analyze the results of your campaign. Because these marketing efforts are repetitive, and logged in the app you’re using, it’s usually easy to generate a report that tells you exactly how your landing page strategy is performing.
Let’s take a look at some of the best marketing automation tools on the market today. Integrated marketing automation platforms
These automation platforms focus on a wide range of different functionalities and features:
1. SAP Sales Cloud. Once known as CallidusCloud, the SAP Sales Cloud is a sales and marketing performance management tool. It’s designed to automate your lead identification process, getting rid of leads that seem unqualified or too high-risk to follow up with.
2. Bremy. Bremy, by Solution Dynamics, is an automation tool to help you create and manage email newsletters, database publishing, and video proofing, among other features. You can use it across channels, which makes it especially appealing to multi-channel campaign runners.
3. Marketo. Marketo was designed with lead nurturing in mind. You can use it to automate various features of your lead management, consumer marketing, email marketing, and customer relationship development.
4. Contactually. Contactually is an automatic CRM designed with real estate agents in mind, but you can use it for your sales and marketing strategy as well. It takes contact information from your inbox and social media profiles, and fleshes out that information as fully as possible.
5. AdRoll. AdRoll focuses on automating your retargeting campaigns, especially through social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. You can use it to segment audiences and track your analytics across channels as well.
6. Dialog Tech. If you rely on inbound phone calls as part of your marketing campaign, consider Dialog Tech. It automates your voice interactions, and gives you metrics you can use to analyze the effectiveness of your campaigns.
7. LeadSquared. There’s also LeadSquared. It’s designed to help you identify and store lead information from multiple channels, including emails, online forms, phone calls, and your website’s chat.
8. Bizible. Bizible was created with the intention of closing the gap between marketing and sales. You can use it in combination with AdWords to automate your ad campaigns and get a high-level picture of your success in getting leads and closing sales.
9. Act-On. Act-On is another lead nurturing platform with a ton of automation-focused features. It can help you design a landing page, track your inbound and outbound leads, and automate all your customer emails.
10. Hatchbuck. If you’re looking to optimize your CRM and marketing efforts, you could use Hatchbuck. It helps you create and assign tags, which you can use to categorize and better track your incoming leads.
11. Genoo. Genoo is an integrated platform with multiple features. It can help you profile customers, evaluate incoming leads, and even create new landing pages. There’s also a built-in CMS with activity tracking.
12. E-goi. E-goi is ideal if you’re looking to use email marketing in combination with other communication methods. It helps you automate a campaign that sends updates via other mediums like SMS text and voice messages.
13. Pardot. Pardot is home to a number of tools designed to automate your marketing needs. It integrates with your CRM, offers a built-in feature to evaluate leads, and even reports on the ROI of your campaigns.
14. Keap. Keap is a client management tool, and the company also offers a tool called InfusionSoft. Together, these tools help you automate your sales and marketing strategies, track leads, and nurture them.
15. HubSpot. If content marketing is your jam, Hubspot is the marketing automation tool for you. It has numerous built-in features to help you create content, optimize it for SEO, and manage your email and social media campaigns.
16. Intercom. Intercom is designed to help you create and execute automatic conversations for app users. It’s ideal for helping users understand your app or guiding them to specific areas of content.
These automation tools focus more heavily on email marketing, specifically, as it’s one of the easiest forms of marketing to automate:
17. MailChimp. The folks at MailChimp have made a name for themselves in the industry by offering one of the simplest and most efficient email automation tools on the market. Creating campaigns, managing list segments, and enabling drip campaigns are all relatively straightforward.
18. ConvertKit. ConvertKit offers many features you might find in a CRM, but is more focused on helping you create automatic responses, sometimes in a complicated chain of programmed responses.
19. Drip. Drip is, appropriately enough, designed for automating and managing drip email campaigns. It has tons of pre-made templates, and can guide you through the creation process if you’re new to it.
20. GoViral. GoViral is a free tool used to encourage your email subscribers to share your latest content. If your subscribers share on social media or via email, they can get a free bonus.
21. Reach Mail. There’s also Reach Mail, which helps you compare up to five email campaigns against each other. Factors like subject lines, images, and core content can help you simplify your AB testing, or in this case, your ABCDE testing.
22. SendinBlue. SendinBlue incorporates both emails and SMS messaging. You can use it to automate certain communication patterns with your customers, and track your campaign results.
23. GetResponse. In addition to creating and managing email newsletters, GetResponse helps you manage your calendar, and has drag-and-drop creation tools so you can fully customize your content.
24. ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign is email campaign automation software, but it has a few perks that many other platforms don’t. It allows you to customize your drip campaign paths based on recipient interactions, interests, locations, and more.
25. Constant Contact. Constant Contact is a great tool if you’re a beginner in email marketing. It provides automation assistance for every step of the email marketing process, from initial drafting to measurement and ROI analysis.
26. MailerLite. MailerLite allows you to create signup forms for your newsletter, track your subscriber rates, and of course, create, tweak, and manage your drip email campaigns.
There are also automation-based tools that can help you improve your productivity, no matter what kind of projects you’re working on:
27. Workflow. Workflow allows you to manage multiple apps at once, organizing them in a single window. With it, you can simplify how you work between apps and automate some of your most important tasks.
28. IFTTT. IFTTT stands for “if this, then that,” and it’s a free, web-based application that helps you create automatic rules for your devices and apps to follow. For example, you could automatically create a new task or a calendar event when you receive a certain type of email.
29. 1Password. If you’re constantly logging into new and different marketing platforms throughout the day, consider using 1Password. It keeps a record of all your passwords, all in one spot, so you can save minutes of time every time you need to log in.
30. Grammarly. If you do a lot of writing (either for a campaign or within your team), use Grammarly to automatically check for spelling, grammatical, and syntactical errors. It will save you time and catch some mistakes you might not have otherwise noticed.
There are also a wide variety of social media-based automation tools to consider, though many of them are based on the same principle of allowing you to schedule posts in advance.
Automation lies at the heart of improving efficiency for businesses that prioritize digital transformation of their marketing efforts.
Marketing automation is the process of integrating software to automate promotions. For example, you can automate repetitive tasks such as social media posting and email marketing.
Businesses that use marketing automation see a 451% increase in qualified leads. Automating marketing activities not only saves you time but also enables you to provide a personalized experience to your customers.
Having the ability to send emails to potential clients answering their specific queries is likely to bring them back to your website. This way, you can leave the automated systems to nurture prospects with valuable, personalized content that converts them into loyal customers.
Like any other marketing strategy, customers should be at the center of your marketing automation efforts. Knowing your audience can help you ascertain the software you should use and the type of content you should be generating.
If you’re not sure where to get started, consider hiring a marketing automation agency that can help boost your revenue.
Using the right digital tools is important. But having a subscription and installing them is not enough. Most online tools provide you with large sums of data, which means you need the necessary skills to make the most out of them.
It takes a lot of time and effort to set and manage these tools effectively. Choosing the right marketing automation agency as your partner saves time and gets you many leads.
An adequate marketing automation service creates a smooth experience for your customers. By handling email marketing campaigns, customer relations management, pop-up buttons, and social media posts, the right agency keeps your customers moving through your sales funnel.
Generating leads is not sufficient if you’re unable to maintain them. For example, your social media following increases, or you notice more traffic on your website. This should result in a spike in your sales. If that doesn’t happen, it means your leads are not being pulled into the sales funnel.
They leave midway because you aren’t engaging them, and your calls to action aren’t quite effective. On average, people spend 10-20 seconds on a web page. If you don’t communicate what you need in 10 seconds, your traffic will likely bounce.
This is where you are better off working with a marketing automation agency. 77% of marketers report increased conversions due to automation since it speeds up website responses and shows targeted content to prospects.
First, the agency can monitor your website traffic using analytics. Then, having compiled in-depth data, they can go so far as to determine what messages you can add to your checkout process to make prospects complete the purchase and prevent the likelihood of abandoned carts.
Knowing what your leads are looking for can help you devise a strategy to keep them on your website for a longer duration, which results in higher revenue.
Since marketing automation plays a crucial role in boosting your sales, selecting a reliable agency is paramount.
Following are 8 characteristics of a suitable marketing automation agency when hiring one for your business:
The continuing emergence of digital tools has made marketing automation a diverse field. But all the good agencies have specialization in at least one area.
If you’re looking for specific channel expertise, such as SEO optimization or paid adverts, you should get in touch with a company specializing in it.
Before heading out in search of marketing automation agencies, know your desired goals and outcomes.
Ask yourself: why are you hiring an agency? What do you want them to do for you? Knowing what you plan to achieve can flesh out your search. Additionally, plan in advance. This way, when you contact a company you’re interested in working with, you can discuss your requirements with them.
The agency you decide to work with depends on your unique needs, so figure out what you want before approaching them.
Even though specialization is pertinent, it shouldn’t limit your options. Since marketing automation requires many skills, the company you’re choosing should provide a wide range of services.
Check if they have diverse in-house experts. If the company is divided into relevant sub-departments, that’s even better.
Some of the skills the company professionals should be well-versed in are content marketing, lead generation and nurturing, and funnel design. Moreover, they should have sufficient experience with relevant software and tools. This also means that the agency should be adaptive; digital marketing is a constantly evolving field, and if you don’t keep up, you’re left behind.
The skills you prioritize when finalizing your choice of agency depend on your desired outcomes. But make sure the marketing automation company you choose has expertise in a specific range of skills.
A marketing automation stack is everything you need to automate your digital marketing efforts.
Although web design and SEO optimized content is significant for attracting customer attention, it is not enough to move your prospects through the sales funnel. Instead, what leads to higher conversions is a combination of the right marketing features – collectively known as a marketing stack.
When comparing multiple marketing automation agencies, their marketing stack offering is what you need to look at. The tools and features that they offer automate the tasks you want them to, so knowing which marketing activities need automation is key.
Thus, to increase ROI, the correct combination of features is essential. Some of the most popular ones you should look out for are email marketing campaigns, web form builder, landing page builder, analytics, CRM, blog builder, and customer behavior tracking.
Often the best marketing automation agencies are those that have a profound knowledge of marketing itself. This is because automation is only one part of your more extensive marketing efforts.
So, marketing automation is most beneficial when it is effortlessly plugged into your existing marketing campaigns and channels.
To make the most out of your investment, make sure the marketing automation agency you choose has a holistic understanding of marketing itself. If they offer related services, such as programming and data analytics, that’s even better.
Digital marketing uses extensive technology. So if an agency has programmers, they can figure out problems on the back end. They can also resolve software-related issues efficiently. Similarly, data scientists have substantial knowledge of analytics and can break down complex consumer behavior data, which you can incorporate into your strategy.
Ultimately, relevant services can improve the consistency between your sales funnel and your brand. By creating a unified user experience at every touchpoint, such services benefit you in the long run.
Before you share your valuable data with a third party, you need to ensure that you can trust them.
Data is crucial; if it falls in the hands of an unreliable party, it could result in massive damage to your business reputation. The problem is aggravated if you’re a small business owner and cannot afford legal action against data hacks.
So, before you trust a third party with your consumer insights, conduct in-depth research regarding their authenticity.
The two ways you can do this are:
Most agencies showcase their portfolio on their website. Or, they can give you a link through which you can access their portfolio.
If you can’t find their portfolio online, contact the company and ask them to show you one.
Seeing prior work of the marketing automation agency will help you determine their trustworthiness. Additionally, by looking at similar clients like yourself, you can decide if the agency is a good fit for your business.
A quick Google search of the company can give you access to their ratings and reviews. Also, see what past clients are saying about the marketing automation agency.
Knowing other clients’ experience with the company can help you figure out how reliable the agency is. Moreover, by going through the testimonials and case studies, you can judge whether the agency provides all that you’re looking for.
Most marketing automation partnerships are long-term, so an essential characteristic to look for is the agency’s company culture.
Before determining whether a company is a good fit or not, you must be clear on your business values and ethics. Only then can you decide if the agency’s company culture is compatible with yours or not.
Before you pair up with a company, check if your goals and values align with them. This ensures that all the services they provide – marketing automation systems, sales funnels, and digital campaigns – perfectly fit your business model.
Marketing automation tools aren’t shortcuts to success, nor should you consider them universally effective. In fact, relying too heavily on marketing automation can blind you to the weaknesses of your campaign; you won’t have as much time to scrutinize it, since it will be happening with or without your direct attention. These tools should be interwoven with your campaign, and used to complement your high-level strategic thinking, rather than being used to replace it.
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